4 Tips For ECO-Friendly Child's Room
Image via Flickr by jhiner
Children bring some of the greatest joys to our lives. Keeping them protected is a must — an urge hardwired into our biology. Their room is like a sacred place, their first sanctuary; it's important that it is utterly safe and free of hazards. With so many small and large threats seeming to hover in and around our modern lives, simple steps can seem overwhelming if you're just not sure what to do. The following four tips can give some solid guidance for creating a healthy space for your child.
Design and Decorate with Non-toxic Materials
Research has suggested that children are more vulnerable to environmental and air pollutants than adults are. That makes sense. They're smaller than we are and their immune systems and bodies are still developing. This means that the chemical products we often use, like paint or wood varnish, are harmful to children because of their toxic content. Buy furniture made of solid, untreated, sustainable wood, and use natural fibre bedding when possible.
Choose materials that are free of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), PVC (vinyl), SVOCs (semi-volatile organic compounds), flame retardants, BPA and phthalates, and all other substances that can leak dangerous contaminants into the air or on the skin.
Don’t Install Carpets
Carpets can make a room feel cozier and somehow softer. But they are a breeding ground for dust mites. Consider area rugs because you can wash them. If you need to have a carpet, vacuum it thoroughly and often, and choose carpets made without flame retardants, PVC, or chemical treatments.
Establish a Thorough Cleaning Routine
Get into a habit very early on of performing a cleaning ritual. Don’t allow clutter to gather in the room. Put toys and books neatly away. Keep all surfaces free of dust; if you have a pet allowed in the room, clean regularly to get rid of pet dander. Fold any bedding, blankets, and clothes that aren't being used. If there are concerns about dust mites, especially if you have carpets that are hard to clean, then wash laundry loads in hot water.
Establishing a safe cleaning routine will help keep potential allergens at bay, and help support air quality in the room. Use child-safe, natural cleaning solutions; mainstream household cleaners contain toxic chemicals that circulate in the air.
Ventilate Your Home
Ventilation is extremely important. Poor ventilation can trap air pollutants, restrict the flow of fresh air, and encourage moldy conditions. Establish a total home ventilation strategy using mechanical ventilation with your HVAC system, or by opening doors and windows regularly to encourage fresh air to flow through your child’s room and the rest of your home.
Practice these tips beyond your child's room, and they should help you keep pollutants out of your home space and out of the air passages of your little one. But also remember that exposure to some natural germs is actually part of a child’s normal growth and immune system development, so don’t go completely overboard. Your child will be OK. In all cases, use your intuition to help you make the best choices.